Roundtable: Daily News Sports 2021-22 NBA predictions

<p>Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam prepares for tip-off against Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodola during Game 2 of the 2019 NBA Finals June 2, 2019. The Warriors appeared in five consecutive NBA Finals from 2015 to 2019, earning three championships. <em><strong>Chensiyuan, Photo Courtesy </strong></em></p><p><br/><br/></p>

Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam prepares for tip-off against Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodola during Game 2 of the 2019 NBA Finals June 2, 2019. The Warriors appeared in five consecutive NBA Finals from 2015 to 2019, earning three championships. Chensiyuan, Photo Courtesy 



As the National Basketball Association (NBA) begins its 75th regular season Oct. 19, our sports staff gave our predictions for this season. Each staff member predicted conference standings, player awards and the two teams who will represent each conference in the 2022 NBA Finals. 

Ian Hansen 

Eastern Conference:

  1. Brooklyn Nets

  2. Milwaukee Bucks

  3. Miami Heat

  4. Indiana Pacers

  5. Atlanta Hawks

  6. Philadelphia 76ers

  7. Chicago Bulls

  8. Charlotte Hornets

  9. Boston Celtics

  10. New York Knicks

 Western Conference:

  1. Denver Nuggets

  2. Los Angeles Lakers

  3. Los Angeles Clippers

  4. Utah Jazz

  5. Phoenix Suns

  6. Golden State Warriors

  7. New Orleans Pelicans

  8. Dallas Mavericks

  9. Memphis Grizzlies

  10. Portland Trail Blazers

NBA Finals: Nets over Nuggets in 5

Most Valuable Player: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

Rookie of the Year: Jalen Green, Houston Rockets

Most Improved Player of the Year: Kevin Porter Jr, Houston Rockets

Sixth Man of the Year: Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz

Coach of the Year: Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors

Everybody’s “most likely” NBA predictions almost never happen. With the Ben Simmons turmoil, a weird Celtics roster make up and an improved Bulls roster, I see a completely different standings than we are used to. I think the Western Conference remains somewhat the same. I see the Nuggets making the biggest jump and making it to the NBA Finals. I can’t go against last season’s MVP or a healthy Nets team. The Nets should get over the hump of last season and win the championship.

Charleston Bowles

Eastern Conference:

  1. Brooklyn Nets

  2. Miami Heat

  3. Milwaukee Bucks 

  4. Atlanta Hawks

  5. Chicago Bulls 

  6. Indiana Pacers 

  7. Philadelphia 76ers

  8. New York Knicks 

  9. Boston Celtics

  10. Charlotte Hornets

Western Conference:

  1. Utah Jazz

  2. Los Angeles Lakers 

  3. Denver Nuggets 

  4. Golden State Warriors

  5. Phoenix Suns 

  6. Dallas Mavericks

  7. Memphis Grizzlies 

  8. Los Angeles Clippers 

  9. Sacramento Kings

  10. Portland Trail Blazers

NBA Finals Prediction: Lakers over Nets in 7

Most Valuable Player: Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets 

Defensive Player of the Year: Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat 

Rookie of the Year: Jalen Green, Houston Rockets 

Most Improved Player: Michael Porter Jr, Denver Nuggets 

Sixth Man of the Year: Tyler Herro, Miami Heat

Coach of the Year: Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets

Runner Up: Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat

I was inclined to pick somebody other than the Nets to win the Eastern Conference, but the dynamic of Kevin Durant and James Harden is too good on paper. Regardless of the Kyrie Iriving situation, I believe Brooklyn has enough firepower to hold off the likes of the Heat and Bucks, barring injury. I believe the Utah Jazz will enter the playoffs as the number one seed for the second consecutive season, but lose in the second round to the Golden State Warriors. In a throwback Stephen Curry against Lebron James playoff series,  the Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals and advance to the NBA Finals. In closing, I believe LeBron and the Lakers earn their second championship in three years to cap off the NBA’s 75th season.

Connor Granlund

Eastern Conference:

  1. Brooklyn Nets

  2. Milwaukee Bucks

  3. Miami Heat

  4. Atlanta Hawks

  5. Philadelphia 76ers

  6. Indiana Pacers

  7. New York Knicks

  8. Boston Celtics

  9. Chicago Bulls

  10. Charlotte Hornets

Western Conference:

  1. Los Angeles Lakers

  2. Phoenix Suns

  3. Golden State Warriors

  4. Utah Jazz

  5. Denver Nuggets

  6. Dallas Mavericks

  7. New Orleans Pelicans

  8. Portland Trail Blazers

  9. Sacramento Kings

  10. Los Angeles Clippers

 

NBA Finals Prediction: Brooklyn Nets over Lakers in 6

Most Valuable Player: Kevin Durant 

Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green 

Rookie of the Year: Cade Cunningham

Most Improved Player: Michael Porter Jr. 

Sixth Man of the Year: Jordan Clarkson

Coach of the Year: Rick Carlisle

 It might seem like a generic pick to say Nets vs. Lakers for the 2022 NBA Finals. However, the talent is simply undeniable for both teams. Barring any injuries and Kyrie Irving’s impending vaccine decision, the Brooklyn Nets seem primed to make a finals push out of the Eastern Conference. The Los Angeles Lakers were the talk of the offseason when they overhauled their roster, adding superstar Russell Westbrook and a slew of aging role players to try to take home their record eighteenth NBA Championship. However, the cohesion and talent of the Nets is undeniable, making them my pick as the 2022 NBA Champions.

Daniel Kehn

 Eastern Conference:

1. Milwaukee Bucks

2. Brooklyn Nets

3. Boston Celtics

4. Miami Heat

5. Chicago Bulls 

6. Philadelphia 76ers 

7. New York Knicks 

8. Atlanta Hawks 

9. Charlotte Hornets 

10. Indiana Pacers

Western Conference:

1. Denver Nuggets 

2. Los Angeles Lakers 

3. Golden State Warriors

4. Dallas Mavericks 

5. Phoenix Suns 

6. Portland Trailblazers

7. San Antonio Spurs

8. Oklahoma City Thunder

9. Memphis Grizzlies 

10. Minnesota Timberwolves

Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam engages with Toronto Raptors center Marc Gasol during a dead ball in Game 2 of the 2019 NBA Finals June 2, 2019. Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry scored 23 points, while forward Draymond Green scored 17 points in the 109-104 win.  Chensiyuan, Photo Courtesy

NBA Finals Prediction: Lakers over Bulls in 5 

Most Valuable Player: Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks 

Defensive Player of the Year: Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

Rookie of the Year: Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons 

Most Improved Player: Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans 

Sixth Man of the Year: Tyler Herro, Miami Heat

Coach of the Year: Ime Udoka, Boston Celtics

Let’s get this out of the way, I don’t watch the NBA and I certainly do not follow it as much as other sports. However, I like to think I still have what I like to call ‘Athletic Insight’. The Celtics have been underwhelming in recent years, but first-year coach Ime Udoka will win coach of the year after jumpstarting the team. I believe Tyler Herro will regain a little bit of his hot streak from the 2020 NBA bubble, and Zion Williamson will finally have an unbothered season where he can dominate. Cade Cunningham will do what he can in a mediocre Pistons organization, and Anthony Davis will become a defensive powerhouse in the retooled Lakers lineup. Finally, Luka Dončić will win MVP for carrying the Mavericks into the postseason. The Bulls, yes, I just said the Bulls will make it to the NBA Finals after beating the Nets in the conference finals. However, they will fall to the Lakers in five games and LeBron James will add another trophy to his Hall of Fame Career.

Derran Cobb

Eastern Conference:

  1. Brooklyn Nets

  2. Milwaukee Bucks

  3. Chicago Bulls

  4. Miami Heat

  5. Atlanta Hawks

  6. Boston Celtics

  7. New York Knicks

  8. Philadelphia 76ers

  9. Indiana Pacers

  10. Charlotte Hornets

Western Conference:

  1. Utah Jazz

  2. Golden State Warriors

  3. Los Angeles Lakers

  4. Phoenix Suns

  5. Dallas Mavericks

  6. Los Angeles Clippers

  7. Denver Nuggets

  8. Portland Trail Blazers

  9. Minnesota Wolves

  10. New Orleans Pelicans

 

NBA Finals Prediction: Warriors over Nets in 7

NBA Finals Most Valuable Player: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Most Valuable Player: Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

Rookie of the Year: Jalen Green, Houston Rockets

Most Improved Player: Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors

Sixth Man of the Year: Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz

Coach of the Year: Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets

The outcome of the Western Conference is more up in the air with tougher competition, but I think the Warriors will get back to the top with the return of Klay Thompson and the supporting cast of Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole. I believe the Nets will overcome the absence of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant will have an MVP season with veteran support in Blake Griffin, Patty Mills and Paul Millsap. I think the runner-ups in each conference will be the Lakers and the Bucks. 

Kyle Smedley

Eastern Conference:

  1. Milwaukee Bucks

  2. Brooklyn Nets

  3. Boston Celtics

  4. Miami Heat

  5. Philadelphia 76ers

  6. Chicago Bulls

  7. Atlanta Hawks

  8. Indiana Pacers

  9. New York Knicks

  10.  Charlotte Hornets

Western Conference: 

  1. Utah Jazz

  2. Los Angeles Lakers

  3. Phoenix Suns

  4. Los Angeles Clippers 

  5. Golden State Warriors

  6. Denver Nuggets 

  7. Dallas Mavericks 

  8. Memphis Grizzlies 

  9. Portland Trailblazers

  10. Minnesota Timberwolves

 

NBA Finals Prediction: Utah Jazz over Brooklyn Nets

Most Valuable Player: Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

Defensive Player of the Year: Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia 76ers

Rookie of the Year: Jalen Green, Houston Rockets

Most Improved Player: Lonzo Ball, Chicago Bulls

Sixth Man of the Year: Dennis Schroder, Boston Celtics

Coach of the Year: Ime Udoka, Boston Celtics

I believe the Boston Celtics will be a standout team this season, which is why I have their first-year head coach Ime Udoka winning coach of the year and Dennis Schroder winning Sixth Man of The Year. I think Kevin Durant will prove once again why he belongs in the Greatest Player of All Time conversation. I expect the Rockets first round draft pick Jalen Green to flourish on a down team. I envision Lonzo Ball living up to his potential in Chicago, while Matisse Thybulle leads a seemingly lost 76ers team and wins Defensive Player of the Year. Lastly, I predict the Utah Jazz finally breaking through with their phenomenal defense and conquering the Lakers and Nets, who each are the common fan’s favorites to win the NBA Finals this season.

Nate Grubb

 Eastern Conference:

  1. Brooklyn Nets

  2. Milwaukee Bucks

  3. Chicago Bulls

  4. Miami Heat

  5. Atlanta Hawks

  6. Philadelphia 76ers

  7. New York Knicks

  8. Boston Celtics

  9. Indiana Pacers

  10. Charlotte Hornets

Western Conference

  1. Phoenix Suns

  2. Utah Jazz

  3. Denver Nuggets

  4. Golden State Warriors

  5. Los Angeles Lakers

  6. Dallas Mavericks

  7. Portland Trail Blazers

  8. Memphis Grizzlies

  9. L.A. Clippers

  10. Sacramento Kings

 

NBA Finals Prediction: Warriors over Bucks in 7

Most Valuable Player: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Defensive Player of the Year: Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat

Rookie of the Year: Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic

Most Improved Player: Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies

Sixth Man of the Year: Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento Kings

Coach of the Year: Billy Donovan, Chicago Bulls

The Bucks may have lost some pieces, but with arguably their biggest rival, the Brooklyn Nets, having one of their biggest pieces (Kyrie Irving) sidelined for the year potentially, Milwaukee is my favorite in the East. The West is loaded again, but the return of Klay Thompson helps pave the way for another Warriors title. If Thompson gets hurt again and Irving returns, I pick Brooklyn over Phoenix in 6.

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